Before dashing off for the England U19 campaign, Ben Charlesworth finished his first-class season with a superb knock of 77* at the county ground in Bristol. It was a fitting way to end the season for the young 19-year-old who is set to make 2020 his year.
England's U19 campaign may have come to a premature end when they were eliminated into the plate portion of the tournament, but Charlesworth showed flashes of his talent with a superb 82 against Australia before his own tournament was ended by a broken knuckle, and although England went on to win the plate with a resounding victory against Sri Lanka, it's hard to consider the tournament a success on a personal or team level.
If you saw that innings against Australia, you'd see why Charlesworth is thought of so highly. From beautiful cover drives, clips off the legs, perfectly timed pull shots, to late cuts on the back foot, he looked calm, calculated and technically sound.
However, the obvious talent of Charlesworth is so incredibly apparent, ignoring it is near impossible. He made his debut for Gloucestershire in 2018 and although he's only appeared in 11 first-class matches to date, he's in a great position to push on in 2020 and cement a permanent place at the top of the order, where he's destined to spend the majority of his career.
Speaking recently to Wisden, Charlesworth described himself in the following way:
I’m a natural opening batter, who bowls right-arm seam. People have commented on my temperament, especially in red-ball cricket, and that’s probably one of my main strengths – building an innings and batting for long periods of time. That’s basically how I’ve made a career for myself to date. When I bat I just have this inner-determination to stay in and occupy the crease and try and get a score for the team. That’s what I’ve been doing since the age of 10 and it’s what I want to keep on doing.
It's not hard to see why Charlesworth is being compared to the great Alastair Cook, but if you thought that would play on his mind, think again. His temperament that he mentioned is plain to see. He's an old school opener who's happy to build an inning and bat for long periods of time.
I watched the 77 against Northants and here's the one sign that makes you believe that Charlesworth will make it to the highest platform. He knows where his off-stump is and he's willing to leave balls outside. So many young players take an off-stump guard and then still nicks off on 5th or 6th wicket. Charlesworth has discipline
He's been with Gloucestershire since he was 14 and signed his professional contract at the age of 17 and made his first-class debut at the age of 18. Having turned 19 towards the end of last year, Charlesworth will be looking to put a full county season on his CV before his 20th birthday.
The one thing you forget about Charlesworth is that he's a more than capable bowler. He's taken 7 first-class wickets for an impressive 18.71 average with his medium-fast seaming deliveries, however, his future is as an opening left-hand bat, without any doubt.